Senior Spotlight: Mary Nyhus

Posted on May 6th, 2020 by

The “Senior Spotlight” series honors graduating fine arts majors for their contributions to the Gustavus community.

Mary Nyhus is a music major and gender, women, and sexuality studies minor from Winona, Minn. After graduation, she will be working while applying for graduate school. Professor Emeritus Greg Aune says Mary’s drive is something that stood out to him. “My lasting impression of Mary is that of a very talented young singer who used her time at Gustavus to mature both as a musician and as a caring, socially-committed individual,” he says. “She embraced and exemplified the best of the Gustavus experience, pursuing excellence in her music studies and engaging in personal experiences that would enable her to become a life-long learner.”

We asked Mary to give us a little insight into her time at Gustavus and how she’s “staying musical” while living at home.

What do you look forward to most about life after Gustavus?
MN: I look forward to beginning my career! I’m so excited to explore opportunities and become my own businessperson!

What will you miss most about music at Gustavus?
MN: I will miss the intricate community of people. There is an incomparable support system among the professors and instructors in the music building that consistently encourages you to work harder, and be a better performer. Some of my biggest influences, best work strategies, and rehearsal techniques have come from my experiences there.

What’s a favorite memory you have from your time in music here?
MN: A favorite memory of mine is performing the Brahms requiem!

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to high school students considering Gustavus?
MN: You DO NOT have to have your entire academic career planned out when you enter college. You will make mistakes! You might even decide to change your major halfway through. College is all about preparing you for the ‘real’ world. Gustavus is an excellent place to challenge yourself, make lifelong connections, and learn more about who you
are. You will be supported and encouraged by real people on the hill who only want to see you succeed.

What has it been like to “be musical” at home?
MN: Being musical at home is certainly different. I have an entire basement to myself to practice music and work on projects, but it’s definitely a challenge finding the motivation to work in a non-academic environment.

What professor has made the biggest impact on you and why?
MN: Dr. Aune has made the biggest impact on me as a student and musician. There are not enough words to describe his compassion, devotion, and musicianship demonstrated during his time here. He taught me how to work harder, perform better, and to always give every project my very best. He is the best example of professionalism and dedication.


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